Pre-planning your estate protects your assets and is required to avoid the expense and difficulty of probate.
Estate Planning / Probate
Estate Planning is the act of pre-planning the division of your 'estate', which are your assets upon death; arguably one of the most important financial decisions of your life. An estate includes everything of value that an individual owns including real estate, art, antiques, vehicles, investments, insurance, annuities and any other assets and entitlements.
The word 'probate' refers to the general administration of a deceased person's will or the estate of a deceased person without a will. The 'will' is a legal document that is the foundation of an estate plan that serves as guidance to the court in settling the deceased person’s estate. What happens without an estate plan?
Healthcare Directive * Power of Attorney * Conservatorship/Guardianship
Living Trust with One Deed
Healthcare Directive/Property Management
Power of Attorney
Final Distribution Petition
Notary On Site * Attorney Consultation Available * Mobile Notary Services
What happens without an estate plan?
Upon death, your estate passes to beneficiaries. If an individual dies without an estate plan, they have died ‘intestate’ resulting in the State of California making the best of the situation deciding how to distribute your estate to your legal heirs. With an estate plan, you have documents that instruct and guide the court in distributing your estate to your named beneficiaries.
It is important to know whether a probate is required following the death of an individual. Some assets can bypass probate, meaning that probate is not required for the transfer of these assets to beneficiaries including pension plans, life insurance proceeds, 401(k) plans, health or medical savings accounts and IRAs. Likewise, assets jointly owned with a right of survivorship bypass the probate process. Whole estates can bypass probate if there is a will and the net value of the estate is less than $150,000; the assets pass to your named beneficiaries with minimal paperwork and no probate.
Within thirty (30) days of an individual’s death, the custodian of the will either delivers the original will to the court or to the executor/executrix named in the will. The executor/executrix is then responsible for locating and managing all the assets of the deceased pending distribution of the estate. Creditors are notified of the individual’s death and given a limited period of time to make claims against the estate for monies owed. After all the debts of the estate are paid, the remainder of the estate is divided by the executor/executrix who petitions the court for a final distribution order approving distribution of the estate among the named beneficiaries.